The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will be fielding 33 percent women candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections which were announced yesterday evening. BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made this announcement at a rally in Kendrapara, saying this is a ‘benchmark for women’ empowerment’ in the country. Patnaik said the ‘historic step’ will lead the way in empowering women.
He said “It was a dream of Biju Babu to empower women. Biju Babu showed the way to the entire nation. It is he who for the first time in India implemented 33 per cent reservation for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions and government jobs.”
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Patnaik called on the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress to do the same. He said the parties should be practical about what they propagate for women empowerment. Congress President, Rahul Gandhi, two day ago, promised to get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Lok Sabha if his party comes to power.
The Odisha Chief Minister said that women of his state will lead the way in women empowerment in India. “If India is to lead the world, if India has to compete with countries like America and China and become advanced, then women empowerment is the only answer,” he said.
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Currently, Odisha’s 147-member assembly has 12 women.
There is a need to empower women politically, and this can be done by increasing the proportion of women in the Parliament and in ministerial positions as well.